Escapist Podcast: 046: 38 Studios Debacle and Gay Superheroes

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046: 38 Studios Debacle and Gay Superheroes

This week we talk about what's rotten in the state of Rhode Island, DC's reboot of a hero as gay and what videogame character we despise.

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Edit: Nevermind.... it went back to normal immediately after my post.

Listening to this pod cast always reminds me of my own train of thought, where sometimes I just stop and think, "How the hell did I end up here".

Wow, what the hell are you guys talking about? The 38 Studios story is totally different if you don't live in Rhode Island, it seems.

Susan's so absurdly off. I don't where she got the idea from, or how none of the others called her on it, but Rhode Island didn't take away any money from 38 Studios. The state backed a loan. What that means is that 38 Studios got a loan from the Development Council, and Rhode Island would be on the hook if 38 Studios couldn't pay.

Guess what? 38 Studios couldn't pay their loan. That's entirely on them. Linc Chafee may not like the deal in any way, but he can't renege on it. He simply doesn't have that power. And the Democratic-controlled legislature won't renege on it, because they're the ones who cut the deal in the first place (also, just from a history sense: Chafee didn't run against an incumbent governor. He ran in a three-way race for an open office).

What Chafee has not done that the Legislature wanted him to do was to throw good money after bad and back another loan to Schilling's company, which I suppose would be used to...pay off the first loan? I have no idea what the business sense is there. I assume it's the same sort of thing that led 38 Studios into financial ruin in the first place.

And that's the crux of it. 38 Studios failed as a business, entirely from a business standpoint. They failed, even with a generous $75 million headstart on nearly every other start-up game developer. Maybe the lesson is "don't let Curt Schilling run your development company."

What's damaging for Rhode Islanders is that we now have to pay back the loan that 38 Studios couldn't, which, with interest, could be upwards of $110 million over the next 20 years. Which is great, because we've already had one city declare itself bankrupt and now Providence is circling that drain, too. State help really would've been nice, but there's no way it's going to be forthcoming now.

Yes, was it stupid for the legislature to sink all of the RIEDC loan into 38 Studios? You BET! I could've told them that a company whose big idea was an MMO was not a sound financial investment. But Schilling had a well-sold plan and the legislators wanted a big name for their big money. But trying to blame the governor for this is stupid. You guys are just picking up half of the tidbits of what happens when you have an independent governor in a state that traditionally has been solid-blue Democrat with a Republican governor. The Dems are giving Chafee hell because he won't try and salvage their bad deal, and all six Republicans in the state (who were also against the deal, by the by) can't be seen agreeing with Chafee because he fled their party to run for governor.

HobbesMkii:
Wow, what the hell are you guys talking about? The 38 Studios story is totally different if you don't live in Rhode Island, it seems.

Susan's so absurdly off. I don't where she got the idea from, or how none of the others called her on it, but Rhode Island didn't take away any money from 38 Studios. The state backed a loan. What that means is that 38 Studios got a loan from the Development Council, and Rhode Island would be on the hook if 38 Studios couldn't pay.

Guess what? 38 Studios couldn't pay their loan. That's entirely on them. Linc Chafee may not like the deal in any way, but he can't renege on it. He simply doesn't have that power. And the Democratic-controlled legislature won't renege on it, because they're the ones who cut the deal in the first place (also, just from a history sense: Chafee didn't run against an incumbent governor. He ran in a three-way race for an open office).

What Chafee has not done that the Legislature wanted him to do was to throw good money after bad and back another loan to Schilling's company, which I suppose would be used to...pay off the first loan? I have no idea what the business sense is there. I assume it's the same sort of thing that led 38 Studios into financial ruin in the first place.

And that's the crux of it. 38 Studios failed as a business, entirely from a business standpoint. They failed, even with a generous $75 million headstart on nearly every other start-up game developer. Maybe the lesson is "don't let Curt Schilling run your development company."

What's damaging for Rhode Islanders is that we now have to pay back the loan that 38 Studios couldn't, which, with interest, could be upwards of $110 million over the next 20 years. Which is great, because we've already had one city declare itself bankrupt and now Providence is circling that drain, too. State help really would've been nice, but there's no way it's going to be forthcoming now.

Yes, was it stupid for the legislature to sink all of the RIEDC loan into 38 Studios? You BET! I could've told them that a company whose big idea was an MMO was not a sound financial investment. But Schilling had a well-sold plan and the legislators wanted a big name for their big money. But trying to blame the governor for this is stupid. You guys are just picking up half of the tidbits of what happens when you have an independent governor in a state that traditionally has been solid-blue Democrat with a Republican governor. The Dems are giving Chafee hell because he won't try and salvage their bad deal, and all six Republicans in the state (who were also against the deal, by the by) can't be seen agreeing with Chafee because he fled their party to run for governor.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying, but I appreciate the insight from someone who actually lives there.

So in the last media sandwich, special guests LRR said media sandwich was the best podcast on the escapist. While I disagree and believe the podcat is the best podcast, how does this make you guys feel?

Susan Arendt:

HobbesMkii:
snip

I think you misunderstood what I was saying, but I appreciate the insight from someone who actually lives there.

You said the lesson was not to take money from a state who could "yoink" (you'll have to correct me on how to spell that word) it away. But as I said above, RI didn't "yoink" any money. So that would be an unrelated (though possibly still valid) lesson to learn. If that's a misunderstanding I apologize.

I think the big lesson (and, to your credit, this was certainly touched upon) would be "Hey, don't invest in companies that are trying to make MMOs while there's still a game called World of Warcraft, especially if you're a small northeastern state who can't afford to pay its teachers, cops, and firefighters."

I do apologize for my tone. It's just completely weird for me to see this issue in all my favorite gaming sites, especially with a lot of hate for Chafee, like he's rubbing salt in 38's wounds. He's not, really. He's scoring points off the Democratic state legislature that's against him since day one, and whose baby this deal was. And he's not wrong to do so. They polled Rhode Islanders when the deal was being proposed, and over half of us were against doing it, even us stalwart Democratic voters. But they went ahead and lured Curt down from Boston anyhow.

Characters you hate? How could you all forget Adria from Diablo 3? What a bitch.

Flash won't be gay for the same reasons as Superman. Long term love interests with all them. The Flash is the friggin' Flash Family. Jay and Joan Garrick. Barry Allen and Iris West. Wally West and Linda Park. Barry and Wally both have kids that are superheroes, so yea... they aren't gonna be gay. Jay is technically like 95 or something. That would be weird.

Also the Aquaman with the hook hand is from the 90s. He was alright. The current Aquaman is pretty badass now that they brought him back to the classic look.
Its funny when people who think they know about comics talk about them definitively.

HobbesMkii:

Susan Arendt:

HobbesMkii:
snip

I think you misunderstood what I was saying, but I appreciate the insight from someone who actually lives there.

You said the lesson was not to take money from a state who could "yoink" (you'll have to correct me on how to spell that word) it away. But as I said above, RI didn't "yoink" any money. So that would be an unrelated (though possibly still valid) lesson to learn. If that's a misunderstanding I apologize.

I think the big lesson (and, to your credit, this was certainly touched upon) would be "Hey, don't invest in companies that are trying to make MMOs while there's still a game called World of Warcraft, especially if you're a small northeastern state who can't afford to pay its teachers, cops, and firefighters."

I do apologize for my tone. It's just completely weird for me to see this issue in all my favorite gaming sites, especially with a lot of hate for Chafee, like he's rubbing salt in 38's wounds. He's not, really. He's scoring points off the Democratic state legislature that's against him since day one, and whose baby this deal was. And he's not wrong to do so. They polled Rhode Islanders when the deal was being proposed, and over half of us were against doing it, even us stalwart Democratic voters. But they went ahead and lured Curt down from Boston anyhow.

That is exactly how you spell "yoink." :) And I oversimplified what I was trying to say...so you didn't misunderstand as much as I explained myself badly. Getting financial backing from people who don't understand the industry and whose motivations may be at odds with what your company needs to succeed is unwise, was what I was trying to say. They defaulted on the loan, no question - would a lender with no political motivations be more flexible? Maybe...and maybe not. That's what I was trying to get at.

Hey can you guys bring back putting the song credits in the description? I miss knowing what you guys are playing when its not Miracle of Sound (Love those songs but they are easy to find)

I love these podcasts! XD I seriously just wanna hang out and talk with you guys some time because it would be so much fun lol.

A character I hate:
Miranda from Mass Effect 2. All of my hate. With the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. The best part of Mass Effect 3 was that she was still dead after I killed her at the end of Mass Effect 2.

Fuck on TV:
Once (At primetime, The movie started at 9) (I think it was USA network so not Showtime or HBO) I saw Pulp Fiction and the line "English, mother fucker! Do you speak it?" was not censored.
So fuck and/or mother fucker aren't always censored on TV.

I've heard "cuntbag" on TV too
and don't forget about

I love the great big length of the podcast - heaps of value for money... I just wish I could remember things I want to comment on by the time I get to the end of listening :S

Lets see...

On Sacha Baron Cohen - Someone commented about Dictator being his 3rd movie. Its actually the 4th. Back before Borat made him super big, he had Ali G. None of the movies have really appealed to me since I really dont like "awkward humour", but his Ali G tv series which came before the movies was actually quite good at times. Hes a very clever guy and can come up with some quite insightful sarcasm when he is doing a less over-the-top scene.

On the Rhode Island thing, when EA was brought up Susan made a comment about "we're going to get a bunch of comments about 'EA is evil'... No. Theyre a corporation." I agree, to a point... EA have a legal obligation to earn money for their shareholders. Its not unexpected that they do what they need to to earn money.

But I think something thats overlooked when I hear that argument is the company's responsibility in the first place for choosing to be a public corporation - its all well and good to say "they have a responsibility to their shareholders", but they made a choice to put themselves in that position in order to get the funds to be a big successful company. In an RPG when the big 2 story tall demon offers somebody wealth and riches in exchange for sacrificing a few babies... saying "ok, deal" is still evil. You dont get to say youre not responsible just because youre fulfilling your obligation to the demon. Theres a fine line between things that companies are obliged to do and situations that are of their own making.

No offense... but the three of you must be on crack. Nobody who enjoys raiding in an mmo would ever have fun in a game that only demended that you only spent half an hour at a time playing to progress at a decent pace. Runescape is browser based... but to get ANYWHERE you have to spent even more time playing it than you would have to in WoW or nearly every other MMO.

An MMO on the iphone/ipad.... seriously? so turn the combat into quick time events? who would honestly pay a monthly fee for that... the only person I know who has ever played a game on facebook is my mother... and she has never bought anything online.

But you're right that the next big MMO will be something entirely different. The mechanics in Magicka could have been a good basic idea for a new type of combat in an MMO.

Brownshirt?

Erm... ..not the best... ..no: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmabteilung

Bad things.

Isn't 'cocksucker' a bit homophobic, though, when used to describe a man?

(And at the very least, it refers to an act that isn't wrong in itself, so doesn't it have the same problem as using 'gay' as an insult?)

Sofus:
No offense... but the three of you must be on crack. Nobody who enjoys raiding in an mmo would ever have fun in a game that only demended that you only spent half an hour at a time playing to progress at a decent pace. Runescape is browser based... but to get ANYWHERE you have to spent even more time playing it than you would have to in WoW or nearly every other MMO.

An MMO on the iphone/ipad.... seriously? so turn the combat into quick time events? who would honestly pay a monthly fee for that... the only person I know who has ever played a game on facebook is my mother... and she has never bought anything online.

But you're right that the next big MMO will be something entirely different. The mechanics in Magicka could have been a good basic idea for a new type of combat in an MMO.

You're still thinking in the traditional model. For an MMO to gain WOW numbers, it's going to have to be something utterly different, and attract a different audience. Your mom may be the only person you know who plays games on Facebook, but she's not the only person you know who uses Facebook, or who has a smartphone. If you make a game on something everyone already uses constantly, the barrier to entry is lowered. And of course, the core design would have to change to reflect the new delivery system.

Susan Arendt:

Sofus:
No offense... but the three of you must be on crack. Nobody who enjoys raiding in an mmo would ever have fun in a game that only demended that you only spent half an hour at a time playing to progress at a decent pace. Runescape is browser based... but to get ANYWHERE you have to spent even more time playing it than you would have to in WoW or nearly every other MMO.

An MMO on the iphone/ipad.... seriously? so turn the combat into quick time events? who would honestly pay a monthly fee for that... the only person I know who has ever played a game on facebook is my mother... and she has never bought anything online.

But you're right that the next big MMO will be something entirely different. The mechanics in Magicka could have been a good basic idea for a new type of combat in an MMO.

You're still thinking in the traditional model. For an MMO to gain WOW numbers, it's going to have to be something utterly different, and attract a different audience. Your mom may be the only person you know who plays games on Facebook, but she's not the only person you know who uses Facebook, or who has a smartphone. If you make a game on something everyone already uses constantly, the barrier to entry is lowered. And of course, the core design would have to change to reflect the new delivery system.

Also, you started with "Nobody who enjoys raiding ... "

This is actually exactly what we're saying, too. Everyone who does enjoy that stuff is already playing WoW or similar. The whole point of our comments is that you can't beat this game by simply offering what's already out there in a new package, though many are currently trying. When and if something does take over, it's not going to be a game that simply offers some of these mechanics that people now view as standard; it's going to come through a platform that redefines what it means to interact with the game. And, who knows if that delivery system would be the iPad, if it would rely on quicktime events, or even charge a monthly fee, as you've suggested? The whole point is that whatever this hypothetical game is, it's currently inconceivable, so until someone produces the next model that works, none of us can be sure of what's to be eventually included or excluded. People who enjoy raids already have their game(s). The next runaway success will be something fundamentally new.

KefkaCultist:
I love these podcasts! XD I seriously just wanna hang out and talk with you guys some time because it would be so much fun lol.

We want to hang out with you, too! If there was only some sort of amazing event that would bring our community together at the same time and place... :-D

best podcast ever, 20% cooler than any other podcast actually.

How about a gay Aquaman in a pirate outfit with a sperm whale mount.

Mike Kayatta:

KefkaCultist:
I love these podcasts! XD I seriously just wanna hang out and talk with you guys some time because it would be so much fun lol.

We want to hang out with you, too! If there was only some sort of amazing event that would bring our community together at the same time and place... :-D

And if only I had the roughly $600 needed to go to North Carolina and stay for a weekend XD
Being a broke college student in the midwest sucks.

KefkaCultist:

Mike Kayatta:

KefkaCultist:
I love these podcasts! XD I seriously just wanna hang out and talk with you guys some time because it would be so much fun lol.

We want to hang out with you, too! If there was only some sort of amazing event that would bring our community together at the same time and place... :-D

And if only I had the roughly $600 needed to go to North Carolina and stay for a weekend XD
Being a broke college student in the midwest sucks.

Ah, bummer. We'll miss ya!

Gay aquaman, greenlantern and flash

would work quite well

Fantastic. Rediculously funny

I looooved Gosford Park!
I absolute love you guys for reacting to the whole "gay" thing the way you did. I feel exactly the same way, that sexual orientation should be just another aspect of a person, and that it shouldn't be "a thing". Hopefully, in a generation or two, that awful "you're so gay" insult will die out.
Granted, I'm not big on comics, but my money's on Green Lantern.
As for swear words... Ugh, this is so delicate. I myself, have been trying to cut back, especially now that our son is here, but I just know it's a lost cause, because he's going to be learning those words on the playground or on TV. Hopefully, we'll be able to manage it, and more importantly, teach him the wisdom to know when it's appropriate, and when it's not.
I would sooooo love to go to the Escapist Expo... Unfortunately, with not one, but two long haul flights in the way, a weekend stay in North Carolina is not in the works. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, hopefully this year's edition will be a smashing success, and there'll be another opportunity next year.
Hum, a hated game character... Well, I hated Irenicus in BG2, but that's because he was the mean villain who had killed my friends, stolen my soul and abused my sibling. I loved hating him, he was such a great bad guy. As for characters I despised... I agree regarding Ulfric, he was just a power-hungry, hypocritical jerk. I wasn't a big fan of Jack in Mass Effect 2, I just hated her attitude.
Love the podcast, you guys keep bringing the awesome! :)

Very funny podcast. This is the first time I've heard Mike with the crew and I thought he was a perfect fit with the rest of you. I hope he gets invited back often. Ya'll had me in stitches a few times, keep up the great work.

i did not know that about rachael ray but i am not shocked. i always thought she was just kinda stupid
the majority of people on tv are assholes anyway

about the gay super hero thing i agree
i don't see the big deal about the gay super hero thing as long as it is plausible. if they don't make a publicity stunt of it there is no issue.

but then again have pulling of a stunt like making super man or batman gay would cause a shit storm.
said shit storm would be both amazing and hilarious

Who do I hate? Gordan Freeman! All these people depending on things, and all he does is go around hitting things with a crowbar... what a douche!

Susan Arendt:
That is exactly how you spell "yoink." :) And I oversimplified what I was trying to say...so you didn't misunderstand as much as I explained myself badly. Getting financial backing from people who don't understand the industry and whose motivations may be at odds with what your company needs to succeed is unwise, was what I was trying to say. They defaulted on the loan, no question - would a lender with no political motivations be more flexible? Maybe...and maybe not. That's what I was trying to get at.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I think this is a fair statement. While this mess was largely Schilling's fault, Chafee opposed the deal before he was elected and it arguably helps him politically to let it fail. This isn't to say he's done anything to make it worse, but he didn't have a strong reason to go above and beyond to help the company.

An experienced investor may not have been more flexible, but they would have gone into this with a much better idea of how to avoid these problems. Chances are they'd have a better idea of how much money was actually needed to develop an MMO, they would have insisted on having more direct access to financial information and decisions, and if things started to fail they'd have more luck selling the assets. Two weeks ago the company had assets, in particular the staff. Now they have a setting and a half-finished MMO, and I doubt anyone out there wants to pick up a half-finished game and put entirely new people on it.

"OMG you play just like your MOM!"
Thanks Susan, gonna use that as a comeback.

I was thinking, if the gay superhero is a publicity stunt, then Green Lantern would be a good bet. BUT, to make it a super-duper publicity stunt, they could choose the John Stewart Green Lantern. Then they'd a get a twofer, "Hey, look, we have a GAY superhero! And he's BLACK too! Go us, we're celebrating diversity times two!" I doubt this is the case thought. Whether or not they're trying to play catch-up with the times, it's just a good decision. Also, as far a DC continuity, I haven't read any of the current new 52, so whether or not John Stewart even exists right now, I do not know.

As for hated characters, the first one I thought of was Albert Wesker. Not because his evil plan is the dumbest idea in the history of dumb ideas, but because his boss fight in RE5. He's a cheating COCKSUCKER. Look at me, I know where you're aiming and can dodge bullets, unless I get mildly confused as to where you are if you're out of my sight for 1 second.

Also, one more thing everyone touched upon, as far as late night TV hosts go, Craig Ferguson is by far, the best of them all. He is genuinely funny, and doesn't overdo anything. You can tell the show is half-assed and yet he makes it damn funny every time.

best part is when i found out i was not the only one that hates Gandhi in the civ 5 though he liked to back stab alot in civ 4 too. So thank you Greg, I understand your pain and hatred for him

GamerLuck:
Hey can you guys bring back putting the song credits in the description? I miss knowing what you guys are playing when its not Miracle of Sound (Love those songs but they are easy to find)

I agree! It's been missing for the last couple months it seems and it's not easy to figure out what the music is.

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